Have you ever wondered what life would look like without the regulatory bodies we have in place?
What would we experience if there were no rules and regulations?
No dos and don’ts, no pros and cons, no boundaries or limits to the lengths people could go.
I think of this, and I literally get just a word: chaos. It would be a world that is worse off than we have it presently.
Have you ever loved something so much it cuts deep when it’s taken away? Or enjoyed something so much you feel like you’ve lost it all if you don’t have it with you?
How do you think kids would feel if they’re told they could never have candy again? or how adults feel when their favorite music is taken off every streaming platform?
I believe it’s the same way with books. You see we build bonds with our books. Well at least I do.
And when I must put down a book I have been digging into, I feel like something is being taken away from me, an important piece of me.
So, imagine how it feels when a friend or acquaintance describes a book to you, and you think; I must read this. You are out to get the books and you find out its been pulled off the shelves. Banned they say.
Some establishment that’s out to regulate books decided that you shouldn’t be reading that because it among the banned books, and that’s it. But we already agreed that without these bodies (regulators), there would be chaos.
So, what do we do? We create alternatives and leave the fight for another day.
Here are a few banned books from the market:
1. Lady Chatterley’s lover by DH Lawrence
This book was published in 1928 and was added to the list of banned books because of it’s sexual contents. It was released at a time when sex wasn’t an easy topic to approach. With the advent of time though, more authors can write comfortably about sex, and it is said that this book by Lawrence helped in bringing in the sexual revolution of the 60’s.
2. Brave new world by Aldous Huxley
This book was banned in Ireland and in India. For some reason it didn’t sit well with their beliefs both traditional and religious. The book preaches an “everyone belongs to everyone” concept. It seemed to push against chastity
3. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Published in 1988, this book was banned as it was described to be blasphemy by many Muslims. Interestingly, not only was the book banned but also sent Salman into hiding as a death warrant had been place on his head. Salman was in hiding for over a decade because of this book.
4. Lolita by Vladimir NabokovP
Published in 1955, was banned because it was said to promote kidnapping and pedophilia. It was banned in the United Kingdom and in France. Despite the ban though, Lolita has been adapted into movies
5. Ulysses by James Joyce
This book was published in 1920 and was banned in the United States and United Kingdom for its portrayal of masturbation. Like Lady Chatterley’s lover, it was published at a time when sex was a forbidden conversation, hence the frown in its direction.
6. All quiet on the western front by Erich Maria Remarque
The interesting thing about this book published in 1928 is that it was banned for its explanation of the intense physical and mental stress experienced by soldiers during the war. As well as the difficulty they had fitting into civilization post war. The ban could not stop the truth from getting out though as it has been made into movies and presently has a movie named after the book on Netflix.
7. Animal farm by George Orwell
Animal farm was a personal favorite growing up. Everyone was talking about the wise counsels that flowed from the mouths of animals especially the pig. This book published in 1945 though, was banned in Cuba, North Korea, and Kenya for its emphasis on communism and corruption. Most surprising is the ban from UAE for its depiction of a talking pig which is considered contrary to their values.
8. The catcher in the rye by JD Salinger
Published in 1951, this book talks about being a teenager and the many rebellions that come with it. It retains the title for the most banned book in the United States. Ironically, it is the second most taught book in American schools. As it is believed to explain the travails of being a teenager and how to get through them.
9. The well of loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
This book was published in 1928 and was frowned on for two reasons. The author was a lesbian, a sexuality that was extremely frowned against until recently. The book was also seen to promote homosexuality as the main characters were lesbian. For these reasons the book was banned in Britain.
We live in times that are kinder to the topics listed above. We live in a time when leniency is accorded to actions and conversations are had freely.
We live in a time where fundamental human rights are taken more seriously and these help in the types of content put out. It is safe to say these authors walked so others could run. They paved a way for other authors that most likely wouldn’t have existed if they had left their works unpublished.
Therefore, we look beyond the fact that their books were banned and just appreciate the art they offered to us. So, what should you read in place of these books?
Luckily, I am not a book police. I do not enjoy my reading list being dictated to me, so I wouldn’t give you a list of books to read. I would simply say, read far and wide. Do not be myopic in reading.
You could have a book niche, but do not limit yourself to that niche. Explore other options. Read different genres. Be a reader that listens to other readers, pick interest in what they’ve read and just go from there. Be spontaneous in your reading practices.
And remember no book is bad except you’ve decided it’s not for you. Explore, read, grow, see the world. After-all, what is good for the goose may not be good for the gander.
Until next time,